Everything Must Go

10 Oct

Roll up, roll up for the sale of the century. We have an exquisite little number on show for you today. A quaint little property adjoining the fabulous environs of Stanley Park in the heart of Merseyside. This site may have seen better times, but it nevertheless offers the purchaser the opportunity to regale himself (or herself – this is a buyer’s market after all) in the warmth and glow of a loving and loyal local population which will no doubt do its utmost to make the new owner feel welcome with its world-renowned humour, legendary tales of bootrooms and an unshakeable belief in the twin ideals of Pass and Move. It’s not going cheap, but what we can offer you is the chance to put yourself on the property ladder of one of the world’s most secretive and bloated markets; no questions asked. Debt? Don’t worry about it. If you need it and ask nicely, the more we’ll give you. And to make this once in a lifetime offer even more attractive, we’ll promise you that if you can’t afford the upkeep, you can merely flog it to the next vainglorious chump, oops, we meant budding entrepreneur who’s willing to take up the slack. Just walk away and don’t worry, they’ll keep coming back for more, singing their quaint little ditties and wallowing in their own sense of nostalgia.

Sad, isn’t it? Liverpool owe Royal Bank of Scotland £280 million and have been ordered to pay up by 15th October. Should the current owners be unable to find a willing buyer this week, the club faces the unthinkable prospect of going into administration and as a consequence suffer the fate of Portsmouth by having nine points deducted that will in turn plunge the club into a very real fight for Premier League survival. While I feel no great affinity or love for Liverpool Football Club and would find it refreshing to see such a big name humbled in the lower leagues (see Walking Alone), the very fact that this might occur through a system of handicapping a club, (due to the reckless mismanagement of those charged with overseeing its financial well-being) is an injustice that needs to be rectified with immediate effect. Why should the profit-orientated greedmerchants that ran the likes of Crystal Palace, Southampton and Leeds into the ground not be investigated and duly punished after the event rather than heap the woe onto the shoulders of fans who continue to turn up, year upon year?

Perhaps, there isn’t anything strictly illegal about the incompetent ownership of the likes of Tom Hicks and George Gillett but if I were deemed to be anything other than ‘satisfactory’ in my job, I would certainly be required to seek measures to improve my performance by the powers-that-be and if that failed to spark any kind of improvement , I would be rightly dismissed. But the laissez-faire, turn a blind eye atmosphere that currently pervades the country is as prevalent in football as it is anywhere else. The bankers who managed to sink this country financially have seemingly escaped without any kind of punitive measure being taken as far as I can see, leaving public workers to pick up the tab whilst the coalition is doing a great job in alienating just about anybody who isn’t earning upwards of £50,000 with the draconian financial cuts they are proposing left, right and centre. And there I was thinking the class war was over…

The Liverpool saga can end in one of two ways and neither will do anything to assuage the feeling that that the game is rotting from the inside. The first: Liverpool have the points deducted and are condemned to playing lower league football because of events that have occurred off the field rather than on it. Even the most diehard of Evertonians would surely prefer to see Liverpool relegated because of their sheer awfulness on the field of play rather than on a financial technicality. The second: The Premier League decides to waive the deduction of  points thus giving Liverpool a stay of execution, making a mockery of the sanctions taken against every other club which didn’t trade under such an illustrious brandname. Either outcome does not cover anyone in glory. Except the fans. Oh, the long-suffering, ever loyal fans…

In a recent BBC football offering, Mark Lawrenson sought to swat aside the valiant attempts of Manchester United fans to dislodge the hold of the Glazer family on the club. Through their peaceful but very visual act of wearing the green and gold of United’s original incarnation, Newton Heath, they showed that the very soul of the club remains intact and despite being seemingly powerless, the fans of a club do have the capacity to change things for the better, as is the case for FC Pauli in Germany which encompasses an overtly socially and community-minded fanbase. Lawrenson was glad to see the scarves in less abundance so that to paraphrase him, everybody could ‘just concentrate on football’. In other words, turn up and shut up.

But funnily enough, life doesn’t quite work out that way. Supporters groups are growing and there is a sense that people are beginning to tire of being pushed around and accepting the status quo. Yes, this may not change anything overnight but it can be done: look at the healthy state the game is in in Germany if you’re after how things can be done differently. With increasing talk of strikes in the public sector, wouldn’t it be a powerful statement of intent to see a whole weekend of Premier League fixtures absent of any kind of support  from St James’ Park to Stamford Bridge? That would make the moneymen sweat for a bit.

When he left White Hart Lane for the final time, disillusioned by the game’s increasing avarice, the great Keith Burkinshaw apparently remarked, “there used to be a football club over there.” Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? Liverpool Football Club. Going once, going twice…RIP

Further Reading: How The Bundesliga Puts The Premier League To Shame

Dispatches Guests on www.just-football.comTaking Sides In Cyprus

and

inbedwithmaradona.comSpurs, West Ham; agree to leave stadium plans behind

One Response to “Everything Must Go”

  1. rachycakes December 30, 2010 at 13:44 #

    OUCH!!!

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